Bike-friendly Albany map nearing finish line

bike albany map test 2016-September

The Albany Bicycle Coalition's effort to create an interactive map of bike-friendly routes through the city of Albany is almost to the finish line. ABC has posted a preview of the map, and it's working on the interactive version.

The org says it's still looking to raise $1,500 to complete the project. Details on how to contribute are at that link above. A fully-functional test version is expected to be ready this month.

About the project:

Objective: an online, interactive Albany bike map with bicycle-friendly routes.
Primary considerations: safety and comfort . We especially want to encourage novice riders, visitors, and new residents, by showing that you can cycle throughout Albany on mainly bike-friendly streets. The map concentrates on secondary roads, side streets, and bike-pedestrian paths. Major arteries are used only where necessary to make connections. Traffic density is indicated by color coding. Traffic advisories, where needed, are indicated by "caution" triangles.
We have made many revisions the past few months, based on your input. We incorporated valuable advice from many people, and have made significant changes to many of the routes.

(As mentioned this past spring.)

Comments

I hope they'll expand it out into the burbs in the future.

Z. - may be difficult (or easy) due to the road structure. There are pretty much 2 roads going towards Guilderland: Washington ext to 155 or Western. Western may be a touch bike friendlier, but still will be a pain. Drawing a bunch of exclamation marks on the map is a no-brainier, though.
Same with a handful of bridges across Mohawk.

So if this does expand to "the burbs" hopefully that means a bike lane or at least wider shoulders on the roads. But lets be realistic, its many years in the future. And yes bikes have the right to be on roads with approximately 1 inch of shoulder space. But that puts them at risk, drivers have very little space to go around them and can put themselves, other drivers and the bicyclists themselves in harms way.
So can we add to the discussion the responsibility the person on the bike has to choose the best route that keeps everyone safe.

@karnerblu...ummm what?

This is a mapping project, not a planning or infrastructure project. The intent is to identify currently bikeable routes. If there aren't any in suburbia, they won't be identified.

But...bikes have the right to be on roads regardless of shoulder space, so long as said roads are not designated otherwise. It is not a cyclist's responsibility to make sure that other road users (drivers) follow the law and pass safely. Although I do make sure to take it upon myself to use as much of the lane as possible when I believe it would be unsafe for a car to pass me while I am on a bicycle. Because I like to keep myself, other cyclists, and drivers out of harms way (to the limited extent that I have any power over other people's decisions).

"So can we add to the discussion the responsibility the person on the bike has to choose the best route that keeps everyone safe."

Don't drivers have a responsibility not to endanger others in the way you've described? I mean, I know that Capital Region drivers even giving a passing thought to anyone outside their vehicle is a pipe dream, but to suggest it's inappropriate for bikes to be in places where they are specifically allowed by law, AND that cyclists have to figure out on their own which places are the inappropriate ones is absurd.

On the other hand, this mindset does go far in explaining the homicidal nature of the drivers here.

Yes bikes do have the right to be on the roads regardless of shoulder space. But just because you have that right, doesn't mean you should always do it.

As a bicyclist on the road your presence impacts how traffic moves around you. If there is a bike lane or a larger shoulder for you to travel on, there is a less of an impact on the flow of traffic.

Vehicles don't have to swerve around you to pass (which is their right as well) while potentially endangering traffic coming from the opposite direction. If you do use most of the lane but are moving slower, you are impeding the flow of traffic as well.

All roads are designed for cars and trucks, but not all roads are designed with the safety of bicycles in mind. Therefore it would be for the safety of all if bicyclists were to take the condition or the road, shoulder, presence of bike lane into mind when planning their route.

I'm pretty sure bicyclists have a responsibility when they go out on the road. Helmets, reflective materials, lights, etc. So why not give some thought to: "gee I really want to go down this road but there's not much of a shoulder, and it gets really narrow in spots. I bet cars would have a hard time going around me, maybe I'll go somewhere else instead"

"Vehicles don't have to swerve around you to pass (which is their right as well) while potentially endangering traffic coming from the opposite direction."

Absolutely nobody has this right. Motor vehicles absolutely do not have the legal or moral right to swerve dangerously into oncoming traffic because they simply cannot wait 3-12 seconds for a passing opportunity.

"All roads are designed for cars and trucks, but not all roads are designed with the safety of bicycles in mind."

That's mostly right. It's an unfortunate truth that pedestrians and cyclists have not been adequately accounted for over about a century of road design. Thankfully, that's starting to change.

"Therefore it would be for the safety of all if bicyclists were to take the condition or the road, shoulder, presence of bike lane into mind when planning their route."

That's exactly what this mapping project is all about...giving the resources to make said determinations to cyclists. Sooooooo.......if suburban and rural options are added to the map...how does this endanger anyone? Yeah, I'd love for 6-foot protected bike lanes with perfect pavement and no debris or drainage grates to be available on every possible route too. Glad you're in agreement.

"So why not give some thought to: "gee I really want to go down this road but there's not much of a shoulder, and it gets really narrow in spots. I bet cars would have a hard time going around me, maybe I'll go somewhere else instead""

So when you're driving, why not give some thought to: "gee I really want to drive really fast down an unobstructed road but there's a living human being riding a bike in front of me. I bet they would like to live, maybe I'll slow down and pass them only when it's safe."

If only everyone made the right choices and correct decisions all the time every time. Then we wouldn't have any problems.

I regret some of the wording I used in some of what I said. I regularly encounter other vehicles going around bicyclists in an unsafe manner. But also in a safe manner. I have encountered bicyclists using the road correctly, and in an unsafe manner. Both parties are equally likely to be jerks or saints.

I still contend that just because a person on a bicycle has a legal right to travel on ANY road, does not mean they should.

Motorized vehicles are the primary form of transportation in suburban and rural areas and that part of the culture seems unlikely to change.

Those roads are designed for cars and are often narrow, with little or no shoulder, are hilly and which can affect visibility.

Bicyclists could make an effort to help keep themselves and other people safe by choosing other routes or bike paths. Cars don't have that luxury. And we all could benefit from keeping out egos in check.

"Bicyclists could make an effort to help keep themselves and other people safe by choosing other routes or bike paths. Cars don't have that luxury."

Cars absolutely have the luxury to choose a different path. Given that driving a car takes virtually no physical effort at all, it would be MUCH easier for a driver to do so.

If the roads are too narrow for you to drive safely and not endanger others, choose a different road. Or, better yet, turn in your license, as you'd be blatantly and grossly unfit to drive.

"Bicyclists could make an effort to help keep themselves and other people safe by choosing other routes or bike paths. Cars don't have that luxury."

This is a complete fallacy. Until infrastructure is redesigned, cycling route options remain very limited. The time cost for a bicycle selecting an alternate route is significantly higher in most cases than an automobile opting for an alternative route. Take a look at the maps; there are significant pinch points for cyclists in/out of the city. Rerouting through suburban and rural roads (i.e. non-city-grid) can be INCREDIBLY inefficient for bicycles as topography and road routing eat up time and effort. Bicycles are not allowed on many highways. There are many MORE options for automobiles than bicycles for virtually any given set of destinations.

Cyclists are not intentionally choosing to get in your way or ride the riskiest roads. They are already taking the best routes available to them. There are sections of roads that I absolutely hate to ride, and have felt at significant risk (and had close calls) on due to reckless driver behavior. Sometimes, they still remain the only viable option. Back to your initial point, this project, and an expansion thereof, only serve to enable cyclists to further identify the best, safest and most comfortable routes.

I guess there's no convincing folks to think of others before themselves. I'm sorry that alternate bicycle routes are inconvenient. At least they are safe. If you want to put yourself at risk by choosing those risky routes rather than inconvenience yourself then I hope you're ok with guilt you may cause a motorist when a true accident happens that ends in your death because you didn't want to be inconvenienced.

"I guess there's no convincing folks to think of others before themselves."

Clearly.

"I'm sorry that alternate bicycle routes are inconvenient."

If they were only inconvenient, it wouldnt be an issue. In many cases, they don't exist or are non-viable. I guess there's no convincing folks to think of others before themselves.

"At least they are safe. If you want to put yourself at risk by choosing those risky routes rather than inconvenience yourself then I hope you're ok with guilt you may cause a motorist when a true accident happens that ends in your death because you didn't want to be inconvenienced."

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/10/the-psychology-of-victim-blaming/502661/

"I hope you're ok with guilt you may cause a motorist when a true accident happens that ends in your death because you didn't want to be inconvenienced." What an utterly disgusting comment and mindset. In this hypothetical in which a driver kills someone through their negligence, you want to blame the one who's been killed simply for being there and expect us to feel bad for the killer because they might have some feelings. People with this mindset shouldn't be legally allowed to operate a golf cart, never mind an automobile on public roads.

karnerblu also provides a good example of a related vein of inaccurate rhetoric surrounding bicycle/car road sharing: claims of safety based on anecdotal perceptions vs actual data. Forester's vehicular cycling research is a good example of where that conversation is taking place.

For example, a bicycle occupying a lane while cars cannot pass may often feel unsafe to both car and cyclist. But is often a far safer than a cyclist riding on a sidewalk where they are virtually invisible to turning motor vehicles.

Another good example from the world of automobiles: SUVs often seem safer to drivers - larger, more impervious, insulated from potential accidents. But statistically, a driver is far more safe operating a vehicle that is much smaller and more maneuverable.

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